The Highwind is the player's primary airship in Final Fantasy VII. It can land on plains in the overworld and only patches that are big enough for it to fit. The player can board the airship while riding a chocobo, in which case the bird will be in the stables inside the airship; this way, the player can transport their chocobo to different areas. There is a man in the command room that acts as a save point who can fully heal the party for no cost.
The Highwind can be used to ram into Ultimate Weapon to make it stop fleeing and fight. In some battles with the Ultimate Weapon, the deck is used as the battleground. The airship is also used as a part of Cid's Limit Break Highwind, in which the Highwind rains 18 missiles down on random targets.
The Highwind was designed and built by Cid Highwind, Shinra Electric Power Company's chief aeronautical engineer. A poster of the newly constructed Highwind is on display in the Showcase Room of Shinra Building in Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-. The airship was confiscated from Cid after the failed launch of Shinra No. 26 rocket and would serve as Shinra's main flagship from then on. Cloud can spot the Highwind stationed in Junon airfield while first passing through during Rufus Shinra's welcome parade.
President Rufus Shinra takes command of the Highwind during the hunt for the rogue SOLDIER member, Sephiroth, and commandeers it to the Northern Cave inside the North Crater. The time taken to arrange the mutiny of the Highwind crew takes roughly seven days. Cloud's party runs into Shinra at the cave, and the Highwind takes off when the Weapons sleeping in the crater awaken. It is not explained how Cid avoided capture during this time, but Tifa Lockhart and Barret Wallace are taken away on the Highwind during the Weapons' rise.
The Highwind is docked in Junon where Rufus plans to execute Tifa and Barret as scapegoats for the Meteor crisis. The other party members infiltrate Junon and rescue Barret, while Cid convinces the airship's crew to abandon Shinra and return to serve him. The airship thus stolen from Shinra, Tifa jumps off the Mako Cannon onto the Highwind, and from then on the ship serves as the party's main transport and headquarters.
Before the party descends to the Northern Cave for the final battle, the Highwind reveals two jet boosts at the back, replacing the two propellers. After defeating Sephiroth, the party is stuck deep within the Planet, and the Highwind dives into the crater to rescue them; the cause of the nose-dive is not explained, and Cid's consternation implies the crew acted on their own, or that the ship, tethered near the crater entrance, was pulled down.
As the ship is blasted out of the crater by Holy its tails fall off along with some of the shell. Cid pulls an emergency lever that jettisons the rest of the load and transforms the Highwind into its final form as two long wings unfold from its sides. The final Highwind model is propelled by a single engine, and appears to be an emergency measure for when the ship takes too much damage. Highwind soars the skies as the Meteor crashes into Midgar and the Lifestream wells up to save the Planet.
It is unknown what became of the Highwind afterward, as Cid replaces it with a new airship, the Shera.
The Bridge is located forward of the airship's gondola and can be seen from the outside through a large curved window supported by metal grid-work. The deck contains three work stations, including the pilot controls (located top right and manned by Cid), communications and radar post (located left), and a station for various other stats and controls (located bottom right). The Bridge is accessible via the Machinery Room.
Most of the player party can be conversed with here. Talking to the pilot gives the option to return to the world map where the player can take control of the Highwind.
- Machinery Room
The Machinery Room links all other areas. The room covers two floors. The ground floor is entered from the Bridge in the bottom-right. If Yuffie is in the party, she resides in the bottom-left of the screen, suffering from motion sickness. On the northern door of the ground floor is the entrance to the Operation Room. On the right of this is the entrance to the Stables. A set of stairs lead to the second floor, which contains another set of stairs out onto the Deck.
- Operation Room
The Operation Room links to the rest of the Highwind via a door to the Machinery Room. The Operation Room has a table and a screen which occasionally displays the position of the Highwind on the World Map. A crewman found here will allow the the player to replenish HP and MP, save their game and change party members.
The Stables link to the rest of the Highwind via the Machinery Room. The Stables provide suitable accommodation for a chocobo. Accessible via the engine room, the stable contains hay, water and various chocobo feed. If the player boards the Highwind while riding a chocobo, it can be visited here.
The deck is the first area of the Highwind visited by the party when Tifa first boards. At a number of times the Deck uses a series of ropes and ladders, which can be unfurled to provide access to the ground as well as a mooring to anchor the Highwind while "landed". It is from the Deck the player can descend into Northern Cave.
There is a hidden affection value that determines whom Cloud will go on a date with in Gold Saucer. The value is determined by the dialogue and party member choices made prior to the date. Near the end of the game, the affection value for Tifa determines which version of the "under the Highwind" scene plays.
If Tifa's affection points are 49 or lower, when returning to the Highwind, she will ask if the rest of the party had listened to her and Cloud's conversation under the Highwind, then walk into a corner, acting shy. If Tifa's affection points are 50 or higher, she will ask if the party has been watching the conversation, then walk into a corner and collapse in embarrassment.
Although no random encounters can occur while traversing the rooms of the Highwind, Ultimate Weapon can be fought on the deck for a number of battles, including the first battle above the waterfall in the Junon Area. The battles fought on the Highwind are the battle in the Junon Area, the battle above Mideel, the battle at Mt. Nibel, the battle above North Corel, and the final battle near Cosmo Canyon.
As a vehicle
The player can steer the Highwind on the world map and land it on grassy areas. If the player tries to board the Highwind and a chocobo at the same time, the game freezes. If the player rides the Highwind backwards into the barrier around the North Crater, they can pass through it. However, if the player tries landing the Highwind within the crater, they will be knocked out by the barrier.
It is possible to lose the Highwind as the party's vehicle and thus make finishing the game impossible; if the player leaves the Highwind on an island and leaves the area on a chocobo, takes the chocobo to the Chocobo Farm and releases it to the wild, and then trashes the party's Chocobo Lure Materia, the player will never be able to recover the Highwind.
The following buttons control the Highwind:
|Go to Bridge||[MENU]|
|Strafe keeps Highwind still allowing the player to move to any side without rotating; steer buttons will not work||[SWITCH]|
|Rotation when not holding the Strafe button, steers sharply while moving||Direction buttons|
|Steer right||[PAGE UP]|
|Steer left||[PAGE DOWN]|
Cid's Limit Break
The main musical theme of the Highwind is track 3 on disc 4 of the Final Fantasy VII: Original Soundtrack, "Highwind Takes to the Skies". It is a stirring arrangement of the "Main Theme of Final Fantasy VII" and might have been inspired by the Final Fantasy V track "Searching the Light".
"Gold Saucer ~ The Highwind Takes to the Skies / X'mas Edit" (from Final Fantasy VII) is a track on the X'mas Collections music from SQUARE ENIX.
"Highwind Takes to the Skies" is included on the fourth disc of Final Fantasy VII Vinyl Limited Edition compilation album. The rearranged version of "Highwind Takes to the Skies" is included in the fifth disc of Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Compilation Album. The original version of "The Highwind Takes to the Skies" from Final Fantasy VII is included in the music player in Final Fantasy XV. It is the second track of the Memories of FFVII album that is available by default.
A toy version of the Highwind appears in a scene.
Highwind appears in an Airship Field Music Sequence for the theme, "The Highwind Takes to the Skies".
Non-Final Fantasy guest appearances
Kingdom Hearts series
In Kingdom Hearts, Riku challenges Sora to a race; if Sora wins, he can name their raft what the player wishes. However, if Riku wins, he calls it "Highwind". The name of the raft is used for the name of the Gummi Ship later in the game.
"Highwind" is used in Kingdom Hearts II for the default model of the Gummi Ship. Also, there's a special Gummi Ship model named "Highwind Alpha" which resembles Highwind.
The Highwind appears on the Northern Cave stage in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Behind the scenes
When the player's party first visits Junon in Final Fantasy VII, Highwind is stationed on Junon airfield. Onboard the cargo ship Aerith confides in Cloud a desire to ride the airship. A wallpaper released by Square—also visible during the installation of the 1998 PC release of Final Fantasy VII, on the CD sleeve, and on the screen to change to disc 2—shows Aeris watching the Highwind on Junon airfield. However, the Highwind is not acquired until after she leaves the party. The re-creation of this key art for the Final Fantasy VII Remake features Aerith on the empty air strip, as Highwind does not appear in the game.
In Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-, the player can see a blimp that resembles the Highwind in Junon's Airport. It can be seen more clearly with a map viewer.
If Cloud talks to Yuffie in the airship she will ask for advice on air sickness and Cloud will respond that having been in SOLDIER, he often traveled in trucks, even if having Cloud back in the party after obtaining the Highwind happens after he got his real memories back.
Beaufort scale. When wind travels this fast (approximately 32 to 38 miles per hour), the sea heaps up. Streaks of foam from breaking waves are blown in the direction the wind is traveling, and there are moderate amounts of airborne spray. On land, high wind moves entire trees, and effort is required to walk against it."High wind" is typical of wind speeds that place a seven on the
- In Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- a Shinra employee, standing beside the airship painting in the Shinra Building, says that the airship was named after the captain, Cid.